Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

U.S. Department of Education

First Page


Last Page



In an era when most parents work, many Americans want their children to have access to safe and supervised after-school activities that can help develop academic, personal, and social skills. In 1994, Congress authorized the 21st-Century Community Learning Centers (21st­ Century) program to open np schools for broader use by their communities. In 1998, the program was refocused on supporting schools to provide school-based academic and recreational activities after school and during other times when schools were not in regular session, such as on weekends, holidays, and during summers. As an after-school program, 21st-Century grew quickly from an appropriation of $40 million in fiscal year 1998 to $1 billion in fiscal year 2002. It now suppo1ts after-school programs in about 7,500 rural and inner-city public schools in more than 1,400 communities. Programs operate in public school buildings and offer academic, recreational, and cultural activities during after-school hours. A distinguishing characteristic of 21st-Century programs is the inclusion of academic activities. Grants made after April 1998 included a requirement that programs include academic activities.